July was certainly a busy month for Downs Designs. We had our booth at the NDSC Conference in Washington, D.C. and also had a booth at the Upside of Downs Buddy Walk at Progressive Field the following weekend.
This year we were able to drive to the conference. It made a huge difference because we saved hundreds of dollars in shipping costs. There were three of us, Jillian, Robin and myself. Robin works for my husband’s medical practice and has been with us for eleven years. She also helps out at Downs Designs when I need her; so three women and all our “stuff” packed into my SUV made for quite a carload. The drive was actually not so bad. It took us about 6.5 hours in all and the weather was picture perfect.
The next morning we were busy setting up our booth. The doors were opening at noon and we had a lot to do to get ready. But with all three of us working together, we were all set up with time to spare. The exhibitor’s hall was huge and there were so many vendors, about 80 in all I believe. We had one slight problem; there was no internet available in the exhibitor’s area, so our credit card equipment was useless. But it was only a slight aggravation and we worked around it.
With people in and out of sessions all day long, the traffic was extremely busy during the “break outs”. We were glad we had two dressing rooms this year and both were in use at our peak times. We had all our ladies’ and children’s jeans available to try on and order. We had samples of the sizes of the Large Teen Girl jeans but ordering those will have to wait until they arrive in our shop. They are due in around the end of August, just in time for school shopping I hope. We also had a sample of men’s jeans to show as well, and everyone was disappointed that they were not available yet. They are in production now and will be arriving in our shop about the end of September. We are also waiting on the samples of the Large Teen Boy jeans. Once we test the fit on those, we can begin production.
The last size we are working on is our Large Youth Size. We have not had a boy and girl model for that size group yet, but we did find some volunteers willing to help us out long distance. It’s certainly not the best way for Jillian to design a pair of pants, but at the time, it was the best we could do. So we’ll see how that works out…still not sure.
The event was great exposure for us and we met so many people that were excited about what we are trying to create. But one of the most important things we get out of these events is that we are able to see how our jeans fit a lot of people, not just the model that Jill uses to design them. Everyone is shaped so differently and Jill’s designs must be able to fit most people and we also realize that we cannot fit everyone perfectly. But I must say, she has done a brilliant job!
Sunday afternoon the event was over so we loaded up the car and headed for home. We were tired and happy to be home, but I must say I enjoyed the entire experience. I look forward to next year’s event in Denver and Robin will definitely be joining us, she was a great help!
But no rest for the wicked…the Buddy Walk was the very next weekend. I love the Buddy Walk though…it’s so much fun. I don’t take dressing rooms or have people trying anything on; I just talk to people, show samples of our jeans and have brochures to hand out. The energy and excitement at the Buddy Walk cannot be described. About 4000 people are in attendance and it’s like one big party in the street.
My favorite part comes after the “walk”. The disc jockey gets everyone moving and the kids start dancing. Thanks to the hard work by the staff of The Upside of Downs, this is one of the most fun events of the year. Even the weather cooperated. It was not too hot and the sun was shining. Funny thing though, right after the event was over, it rained like cats and dogs.
Some really good news too … we found a boy and girl model for the youth sizes. Their parents are so kind to help us out. Now Jill will be able to work her magic with this age group. I can’t wait to see how the Youth sizes will turn out.
So with July coming to an end, I’m satisfied with the results. Hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll have a pair of jeans for most of the hard-to-fit kids and adults. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!